Tune In Tuesdays have arrived at Grapevine! Project workers Sam and Jo have been encouraging local people with a learning disability to keep safe, healthy and well at home.
The pair set up a weekly Zoom group for people they were already connected to when lockdown began. They had previously been on the road training social care students and health professionals alongside Health Team (or ‘H-Team’) members who have a learning disability and feel passionate about educating others on their health.
Sam explains: “Health inequalities in our society mean someone with a learning disability dies 16 years sooner than another person who doesn’t have a learning disability.
“We were already out there ensuring key people and those most at risk of dying young were aware of the preventative measures to take to close the gap with the general population.
“Now we’re connecting weekly online to help keep our group on track when person-to-person contact is so limited. We’re on the sidelines cheering people on, but also seeing new friendships unfold and new leaders emerge.”
Tune In Tuesdays guide the group through ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ and feature a new topic each week, from healthy eating habits to self care plans.
What was previously a structured timetable of delivering training has become a two-way flow of mutual support.
One of the group put forward the idea of a ‘virtual recipe book’ where healthy meals could be shared and even cooked together. Another younger member was never confident enough to attend meetings or training sessions but is willing to join in virtually.
Others don’t want to be on camera but can connect through the chat function on Zoom. There’s an opportunity for everyone to come together and not be isolated.
“These relationships existed pre-pandemic but will potentially be reinforced through this difficult period. We may even see new ‘health ambassador’ roles flourish in their own networks so we can reach more people than ever before. It’s all up for grabs and very encouraging for what comes next.”
The H-Team is part of our Help and Connect project, commissioned by Coventry City Council and designed for people with a learning disability to make a plan, get connections, get work, stay healthy and safe.
Follow them on Facebook for news and updates. Others are welcome to join Tune In Tuesdays via Facebook too.